|Photo from zimbio.com|
As for the other championship series currently in progress, the Heat evened it up last night, as I predicted. LeBron James didn't play just how I expected him to, but he still took over the game after a lackluster first quarter. He was confidently taking the jumpers that the Spurs were letting him take. That strategy can work against him sometimes, but last night was not one of those moments. Kawhi Leonard was doing an okay job of defending James, but that won't be good enough if LeBron continues to drill shots from outside. As we saw, Leonard got himself into foul trouble, before finally fouling out of the game entirely by the end.
Before James took over offensively, both sides played efficient offense. The ball was moving very well, and they were getting decent looks most times down the floor. To counteract that, both teams were also playing great defense. In the second half, and mostly the fourth quarter, the combination of the improved Miami defense, along with the lack of ball movement on the part of the Spurs led to their downfall.
One of the biggest takeaways from this game was at the end, when James was guarding Tony Parker, which completely stagnated San Antonio's offense. They need to run the offense through Ginobili or Diaw if James is guarding their normal point guard, which is an adjustment I expect Popovich to make in time for Game 3. LeBron takes Parker out of the game, and forces him to be indecisive, and simply stand and dribble rather than run a play.
A few random notes on this game before we part for the day. First of all, James Jones found his way onto the court again, except as a player this time, not just a guy to carry LeBron off the court. Also, Pop's post-third quarter interview with Doris Burke was him at his absolute best. He was so incredibly uncooperative, it was incredible to watch, as it always is. Finally, my mom noticed Manu Ginobili's nose and claimed that it "has a mind of it's own."